Bill Gates Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has declared interest in funding clinical trials for tuberculosis vaccine in Africa.

The goal is to reduce morbidity and mortality resulting from tuberculosis.

Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Mr. Mark Suzman, made the pledge during a virtual interview with journalists, on Thursday.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease, caused by bacteria, that affects the lungs. The disease spreads through the air when infected persons cough, sneeze or spit.

Suzman said that tuberculosis killed more people than any other disease.

According to him, the world recorded 1.6 million deaths from tuberculosis in 2023 report.

“An example of something that we are starting to fund this year, which the trials will be on the African continent, is the first trials, phase three trials, which are the last trials before something is proven.

Gates Foundation commits $40m for vaccine production in Africa

“We hope to be successful for a tuberculosis vaccine.

“That’s the kind of initiative that philanthropy can take.

“We will take the risk, and we are being supported by the Wellcome Trust and other philanthropy, to do those trials,” he said.

He said that the foundation was working on new treatment for tuberculosis and malaria.

“But in the end, when those are developed, it has to be governments that will take the lead, working with international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria to ensure that the products reach the people who need them,” he said.

Suzman said that philanthropy could take risks and help to fill gaps that could be overlooked or underfunded, to save lives and improve well-being.

According to WHO, in 2022, an estimated 10.6 million people fell ill with tuberculosis worldwide, including 5.8 million men, 3.5 million women and 1.3 million children.

TB is present in all countries and suffered by all age groups.

It is curable and preventable, but remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease, according to WHO.

The Star



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